Singer/whistler/performer Emily Eagen is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, an alum of Macalester College and The University of Madison-Wisconsin, and a former Fulbright scholar to the Hague, the Netherlands. Emily currently lives and works in New York City, where she is doctoral student in the music department of the CUNY Graduate Center. She is an active performer of early music, contemporary music, and traditional American music, as well as an avid experimenter in musical genres of all kinds.
Emily is a member of The M6, an ensemble dedicated to exploring and performing the works of composer Meredith Monk. She tours regularly as singer, whistler, and ukulele player with the LA-based avant-folk trio moira smiley and VOCO, which performs traditional Balkan and American folk music and blends these into original compositions. She performs with the Hesperus Ensemble, singing Sephardic and renaissance music for a live-film performance of the 1920s horror film The Golem. Emily has performed regularly as a soloist with the mediterranean medieval ensemble Sendebar, and was the 2008 recipient of the Barbara Thornton Memorial Scholarship for medieval music from Early Music America. She sang soprano as part of the eight-voice women’s chorus on singer-songwriter Sufjan Steven’s 2010 EP All Delighted People, and can be heard singing background vocals on the recently released debut album by singer-songwriter Guillaume Goussault. Emily sings, whistles, and plays the ukulele with the roots/old-time/early blues band The Whistlin’ Wolves.
A two-time International Whistling Champion, Emily has been known to whistle everything from opera to jazz, and regularly leads workshops in group and solo whistling. In a 2007 Carnegie Hall workshop led by soprano Dawn Upshaw and composer Osvaldo Golijov, Emily premiered The Wane of More, a piece for voice, whistling, and chamber ensemble by composer Gyan Riley. Her whistling has been featured on numerous recordings, was used as live accompaniment to an installation by artist Tony Luensman at the Cincinnati Art Museum for Frank Duveneck’s painting “The Whistling Boy”, and was recently the whistling “voice” of e-bay.
Emily teaches private and group voice lessons in classical, early, contemporary, and traditional American folk genres. She teaches in and around New York City, as well as at various summer festivals including The Amherst Early Music Festival (CT) and The Augusta Heritage Center (WV). She teaches a monthly bluegrass/old-time/gospel harmony class at the Jalopy Theatre and School of Music in Brooklyn with singer Don Friedman, and is a teaching artist in the New York City public schools through Carnegie Hall.